7 Nintendo Enthusiast editors have put in around 50 man-hours of work into creating this feature and we hope you’ll enjoy it. But before you jump in, there’s one bottom-line I’d like to stress. And if this point about the evolving landscape of the Wii U doesn’t become apparent, I feel like you may miss the entire point of this feature.
After announcing the Nintendo Web Framework and Unity partnership, Satoru Iwata claimed more than 1,000 independent developers got in contact with Nintendo about developing for Wii U. That means the barrier of entry to console development for the past 30 years had just been lowered significantly. The floodgates had opened and the gap between Wii U development and PC/mobile app development had been bridged. What’s happening now is that we are seeing the first generation offspring of this strategic policy-shift.
The feature article you are reading is the recognition of that first generation finally making their appearance, ever so quietly. It nearly slipped us by, but as indie games have frequently begun to surface over the past few months, we gathered up a list, and realized that the transformation had already begun. It’s not just the amount of games, but the developers behind it who we’ve been in touch with and heard their stories.
There are (at least) two business models for indie studios:
1) Medium budget, low-risk, high profile studios that have proven themselves as viable long-term business models over time. Examples would be Wayforward (indie developer) and Nicalis (indie publisher). Until now, only Type 1 indie studios have existed on consoles because of the cost of creating a custom console engine.
2) Small budget, low profile, individually-staffed teams, with a short development cycle. The aim of the Type 2 indie developer is to become a larger, more profitable independent Type 1 studio with a long-term financial future. Until now these indies have only been found creating games for online Flash portals, as free downloadable PC games, or, more recently, turning a nice profit on mobile app stores.
Nintendo has now created an opportunity for hundreds of these Type 2 indie developers to finally enter the world of console development. We’ve been in contact with tens of these developers and we know many of them are starting out small to help fund their ambitious dreams for the future. Just like a sports team drafts talented prospects who eventually become their star-players, Nintendo is making an investment in these new indies by providing them with the tools to enter console development. Old veteran companies, like EA, may be a bit of a lost cause, but Nintendo has already made a wise move by planting the seeds of the talented youth.
If you’ve got the eye of a video game developer “scout”, you may spot some future all-stars in this pool of talent. So, without further ado, check out our thirteen lists of 120+ Upcoming Wii U Indie Games: